Today, in the time of mass media and instant communication tools, people have more and more information to process and makes it necessary to filter and arrange the information. Professionals usually receive dozens of messages every day, and their time to read and answer them is very limited. This is why it is important to compose business messages in a way that helps to save the recipient’s time and resources. Writing emails is not the same as chatting, and it is required that the message include all the necessary details so that the recipient does not have to make additional inquiries (Bauer, & Jerz, 2015).
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Identifying and Solving the Communication Problems with the Given Email
The following email has been rewritten according to the 10 C’s for writing effectively. These C’s are Content, Completeness, Correctness, Clarity, Coherence, Conciseness, Connection, Creativity, Courtesy, and Closure.
- FROM: Bobby Johnson
- TO: Friends and Colleagues of Joe Banyon
- SUBJECT: Retirement Party for Joe Banyon
- DATE: October 16, 2015
As you probably know, Joe Banyon is retiring next month. Some of his friends asked me to arrange a little farewell party in his honor.
The date is Friday, November 20, 2015, 6 p.m. at City Café (1034 W 4th Ave Anchorage, AK 99501), and we hope you (and your spouses) can make it.
We are covering all the dinner expenses, but we would also like to give Joe a gift certificate. We are asking everyone to contribute. I will inform you as to the amount of the contribution on November 4, as soon as I know how many people are coming.
Please let me know if you are participating and if you are coming alone or with your spouse by November 3.
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The first thing that catches the eye in the original message is the address. There is a mistake, and this is probably what each of the 50 receivers is going to think. They might delete or ignore the message, and it will not fulfill its purpose. The Correctness rule is violated here. To improve the situation, the sender must double-check the address list. Any misprints will fail to receive the message. A line with the sender’s name should also be included.
The subject line is present in the original message, which is good. It complies with the Clarity rule: the recipient will instantly understand what the message is about. The subject line needs to be filled in, but it should not be too long and complicated. Although, in this case, it could be a little bit more precise: Retirement Party for Joe Banyon, for example.
As to the Content rule, the original message lacks the date and the address of the establishment the party is going to be held at. Including the date will help the recipients understand if the message is urgent and relevant. It is useful to mention the address, even if the writer supposes that all the recipients know it – misunderstandings can happen. It is also necessary to specify the type of party, whether the guests will have to pay for themselves and if they can take someone with them. As a contribution is mentioned, it is required to specify the expected amount of money. If the sender cannot provide the necessary information at the moment, he should give a deadline by which to expect it.
There is an implied assumption in the body of the message that everyone knows that Joe Banyon is retiring. However, this may be not the case, and it can be news for some receivers. It is necessary to add something to make the sentence sound less assuming and straightforward, for instance, “probably”. This will make the message more Coherent.
Formal elements such as Courtesy and Closure have to be present in the message to give it a completed look. In the given letter these elements are: “Hello everyone”, “best regards” and “Bobby”. The writer must make sure the letter does not come abruptly to an end (all its elements are connected to each other) and has all the necessary information, i.e. is Complete, and does not include anything off the topic, i.e. is Concise (Stolley, & Brizee, 2010).
Strategies for Composing More Effective Messages
All messages should have a subject line, a greeting and a closing in accordance with the correspondents’ relationship (more or less formal), and be carefully proofread. Irrelevant information and solid blocks of text are to be avoided, as the message must be brief and informative. Excessive usage of caps and punctuation marks (such as too many exclamation marks in succession), as well as spelling mistakes and typos, make messages uncomfortable to read and can even distort the information. Sometimes it is necessary to thank the receiver for their previous message, and it is always required to state the purpose of the message clearly (Connor, 2012).
When composing a message, the writer should always review it from the recipient’s point of view. The message must be proofread, and all names, dates and numbers double-checked. The message must be brief and informative to save both the sender’s and the recipient’s time.
Bauer, J., & Jerz, D. (2015). Email tips: Top 10 strategies for writing effective email. Web.
Connor, P. (2012). Business email. [email protected]. Web.
Stolley, K, & Brizee, A. (2010). Email etiquette. Web.